All Stories, General Fiction

Psychic Promise by Yash Seyedbagheri

My father seeks help from the psychics, their names a litany, a liturgy. Padre, Maria, Esmerelda, Christin. They promise good fortune, alignments of the planets. They promise to vanquish his opponents. To vanquish bad luck. And he has so much, at least in his opinion. There’s the divorce from years ago, something that still simmers. I, his only son, didn’t become a lawyer. I up and left. I became a writer, a marker that to him conjured garrets and begging for food, and not victory, conquest. He tried to amass a coterie of girlfriends from abroad, each one coming in from distant lands, snatching a green card and the possibility of things. They called him prophet, valiant lord, but those were only obsequious platitudes.

Continue reading “Psychic Promise by Yash Seyedbagheri”
All Stories, General Fiction

What If? by Yash Seyedbagheri  

My life is a sea of ifs.

What if I’d published this collection? if I’d studied harder? If I hadn’t shot off my mouth at home? What if I hadn’t eaten too many potato chips and drank too much Merlot?

On my thirtieth birthday, they all rise up like the ghosts of Christmas past, whispering. If, if, if, a hollowed-out word that sits next to me in the coffee shops, follows me on my nightly walks, snuggles too close to me.

I procure the biggest whiteboard possible. Eliminate ifs. Draw up concrete whens in lavender marker. No red markers bleeding with psychological pressure, thank you. I lay out goals and visions.

Continue reading “What If? by Yash Seyedbagheri  “
All Stories, General Fiction

Sorry by Yash Seyedbagheri

People fling sorry at me.

Sorry, a person cuts in line.

Sorry, a biker knocks me over.

Sorry, my debit card’s been declined. Next customer, please.

There’s no sorry in rejected credit card applications. They speak only of delinquent obligations. Income. Balances.

Continue reading “Sorry by Yash Seyedbagheri”
All Stories, General Fiction

Never Come Home by Tom Sheehan

 The cold, not a storm loaded with snow, but the cold in burrowing waves, came sweeping down the valley just north of the Yalu River. Vatcher Sexton McKee, sergeant of infantry, as cold as he’d ever been in his life, could not hold the pencil in his hand. He’d already broken the lead point three times, but only worried about handling the rifle, managing the trigger when called upon, his latest letter home to be finished at an hour less demanding.

Continue reading “Never Come Home by Tom Sheehan”

All Stories, Fantasy

The Womb is a Careless Weaver by Mark Benedict

The handsome interviewer smoothed his shiny red tie. “Says you’ve worked at the docks for practically your whole life,” he said, scanning Gwen’s resume on the other side of the desk. “That your crew unloads—whoa—a hundred ships a day? Is that true?”

Continue reading “The Womb is a Careless Weaver by Mark Benedict”

All Stories, General Fiction

Farewell Persephone by Virginia Revel

“I see her always as she was then, lit with lucent yellow from a jagged tear in the eternal cloud cover, eyes locked with mine, mutely but unmistakably saying farewell.”

            This is the first sentence of the novel ‘Farewell Persephone’ by my uncle Marcus Carradine. Below the title he inserted a quotation:

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold

The Second Coming

William Butler Yeats


I found the manuscript of ‘Persephone’ in my uncle’s house three weeks after he died. ‘Manuscript’ is a literal term in this instance; Marcus despised word processors and wrote his book in longhand. He used to tell me that the movements of his hand and arm made the creative juices flow. Literary composition was a physical thing. He said, too, that his aim was to ‘possess the world and make it gravid.’

Continue reading “Farewell Persephone by Virginia Revel”